Say what you will (Michael Hunt) about the BCS, USC, Texas, Utah, the SEC, the MWC, fairness, money, legitimacy, mythical national championships, whatever . . . that bowl game last night was fantastic. That's what college football bowls should be. Two very good teams that can beat each other on any given night (and they could).
This is a Badger Blog, so here are some things relevant to the Badgers: the single most important key to the game was Oklahoma's two first downs inside the Florida 10 yielding no points. Bret!?! Listen up!! At the time I said, "yeah, Bob Stoops, slam that thing in from the 1 on 4th down. You can do it. Make a statement." I was wrong. Bob Stoops was wrong. Oklahoma fans everywhere were wrong. Take the points. Now, if you're in a bad spot, and you know that everything is stacked against you, maybe going for it is the right option, but I'll tell you what: if Oklahoma gets 3 points from either trip inside the 10, that's a very different ball game. And that early? You never know. Take the points.
Why? With another three points, is Sam Bradford forcing a deep throw with 5 minutes left in the game? No. Now, a bunch of things would've been different, but the bottom line is Oklahoma is up three in a close game. TAKE THE POINTS, Bret. I swear, as a Badger fan, I will never again question taking the points in a competitive game.
Ok, three more things that were "keys." (1) Defense getting off the field on third down. Florida did, Oklahoma didn't. The Sooners routinely allowed Florida to convert even third-and-longs. That, folks, is how you lose football games. (2) Percy Harvin. The kid is sick. Speedy and slippery. I wish we had one of him. (3) Tim Tebow. Solid arm, solid legs, silly size for a quarterback. Great player.
Now, onto the juicy stuff: Tebow, God, and idiotic sports announcers. This isn't a blog about Christianity, but . . . (here goes nothing) I practice my faith much differently than Tebow does. While we appear to agree on some fundamentals, his evangelicizing irks me. I don't like it. I don't like John 3:16 eye black. I don't like the religious gesticulations after touchdowns, and I don't like the, "first, I'd like to thank Jesus Christ for [choosing me over the Sooners]." But I'll take it a step further: it's not what I'd do, but it's also not right for me to judge him for his apparently authentic faith. (This does not mean that I no longer mind athletes prattling on about how Jesus blessed them because they scored a touchdown or made a tackle, then take their guns into night clubs, get a little too funky with the local ladies, and generally don't act Christian at all; deeds, not words, my friends). So I don't like it, but I also won't turn my back on the kid because he's different than me. So there.
Not that it isn't difficult. God didn't choose him over the Sooners (or at least I don't think so). And those announcers!?! Good God (to turn a phrase), get off his . . . um . . . lap. Seriously. These are the same people who tell us that Florida "throttled" Oklahoma (to use ESPN's terminology). Yeah, like George Bush throttled Al Gore in 2000. Folks, until that last pick-turned-touchdown drive, that game could've gone either way. Florida won, and good for them, but there was no "throttling." But this is about Tebow. When announcers, who are well known idiots for saying things that preposterous, can't stop fawning over Tebow the Messiah ("you'll be a better person for spending ten minutes in his precence"), it makes it easy to dislike the kid. Seriously, that kind of talk did Tebow's reputation more harm than good (at least with the 70% of Americans who recognize evolution occurs).
On the other hand, it's not Tebow that deserves the scorn, it's the announcers. So I will continue to think that Tebow is a good kid (even with the unsportsmanlike taunting -- he's a kid playing sports; I'm not proud of it, but I've done some taunting during a game this year, and I'm nowhere near as young). Really, it sounds like he's a genuinely good kid with an authentic faith (which I, for one, prefer to express differently). The announcers, on the other hand . . .
Final thought on the BCS title game: Congratulations Florida, Coach Meyer, Harvin, Tebow -- and Oklahoma, Coach Stoops, and Bradford. Well done.
PS. Remember when we went for it late against Tennessee in the '08 Outback? We should've taken the points. Then we wouldn't have needed a touchdown, just a field goal to tie it, when Donovan threw that last interception. So I repeat: TAKE THE POINTS. Badger fans? Take note.